Some clever hackers at Columbia University in the States have managed to run apps designed for iPhone on an Android tablet.
Check out the below video to see a demo. They’ve created software they call “Cider” (because Apples, geddit?), which will take unmodified iOS binaries (aka apps) and run them on Android. To my untrained eyes, it appears to be using the same principles as an emulator – with Cider plugging the gap between the app and the operating system. So when an iOS app requests GPS coordinates, the Cider software will feed in the Android GPS coordinates, and so on.
What’s remarkable is that there doesn’t appear to be too much of a performance hit – even a 3D game runs pretty well. Though I’d expect the battery life wouldn’t be too great.
Don’t expect to be using iTunes on your Android any time soon though – even if they release Cider for download on Android, you’d still have to somehow download the iOS apps to a computer and then get them on to an Android device… which for the casual user is going to be rather tricky.
If you’re so inclined, you can read a long academic paper talking about how they did it.